Off-duty cop helps nab five guys in drug deal gone bad

Quintet pinched after robbery goes to pot

By Erick Nordby
Citizen Chronicle Writer

SOUTHBRIDGE — Police arrested five people from Worcester and charged them with armed robbery Wednesday afternoon at Cumberland Farms on Main Street, after a man told an off-duty officer from another town that he had been held at gunpoint after buying marijuana for a friend.

Police Chief Shane D. Woodson said in an interview that a police officer from another town, who just got through with a traffic detail, was pumping gas about 4:30 p.m. at Cumby’s when he was approached by a man who told the officer, “I was just robbed by that guy over there.” He pointed to another man who was entering the passenger side of a silver Saturn Ion. The car had four other occupants, including the driver.

The off-duty police officer called Southbridge police, got into his unmarked personal vehicle and followed the suspects onto Worcester Street, when Southbridge police were able to intercept the Saturn Ion near Brookside Road. Chief Woodson said it took less than five minutes from the time the off-duty officer was approached until the time the car was stopped.

The chief gave credit to the off-duty officer and to technology: “Really, even just 15 years ago, this wouldn’t have been likely. With the cellphone, the call was logged immediately and then he was able to communicate while following closely”

The police press release on the incident identified the driver as Aziz Sawadogo, 18. A passenger in the front seat, Heriberto Lopez, 19, was asked to get out of the vehicle at which time a silver .22-caliber Derringer firearm was recovered.

Three other passengers in the back seat of the vehicle were identified as Daniel Silverio, 20, and two juveniles. One of the juveniles was already under the supervision of the state Department of Youth Services for prior criminal charges.

An amount of marijuana was also recovered and two of the suspects attempted to provide officers with fake names.

Among the five individuals arrested were, from left to right, Aziz Sawadogo, Daniel Silverio, and Heriberto Lopez. The other two taken into custody were minors.

Police said their investigation determined all five suspects had been involved in the robbery. They were taken to police headquarters and processed. The three men were held on bail awaiting release or their arraignment Thursday in Dudley District Court. They were charged as follows:

Mr. Silverio, of 22 Dover St. Apt. 2, Worcester, conspiracy to commit a crime to wit armed robbery, armed robbery; aiding and abetting, and kidnapping, firearm aiding and abetting.

Mr. Lopez, of 10 Glade St., Worcester, unlawful possession of a firearm, armed robbery; joint venture, and kidnapping, firearm; joint venture.

Mr. Sawadogo, 42 S Lenxon St., Worcester, conspiracy to commit a crime to wit armed robbery, providing a false name, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, armed robbery; aiding and abetting and kidnapping, firearm aiding and abetting.

A 16-year-old juvenile from Worcester was charged with armed robbery; joint venture, kidnapping, firearm and conspiracy to commit a crime to wit armed robbery.

A 17-year-old juvenile from Worcester was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime to wit armed robbery, armed robbery; aiding and abetting, kidnapping, firearm aiding and abetting, providing a false name and held on a Department of Youth Services warrant

One of the juveniles was released to a parent and the other juvenile was released to the custody of the Department of Youth Services.

Officer Darren Dodge made the arrests, assisted by Sgt. Michael Sullivan, Detectives Jason Bonadies and Jose Altiery, and Officers Joel Lopez-Miranda and Kaiten Neill.

Chief Woodson said, “People don’t usually report these type of things because they happen in the commission of another crime.” Asked if the person was facing repercussions for the alleged marijuana deal, the chief said no, because “the amount of marijuana involved was below what would be considered criminal. In this case, that part of it was civil.”


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